‘To Marry a Scottish Laird’ by Lynsay Sands

tmasl lsSTORY: Highlander Campbell Sinclair is no stranger to battle, so when he sees a lad attacked by bandits, he jumps into the fray. He didn’t count on being stabbed. Grateful to the boy for nursing him back to health, Cam offers to accompany Jo safely to his destination. But when he accidentally comes across the lad bathing in the river, Cam discovers that Jo is actually Joan…with the most sinful of curves.

Joan promised her mother that she would deliver a scroll to the clan MacKay. But traveling alone is dangerous, even disguised as a boy. When a Scottish warrior lends his aid, she is more than relieved…until he surprises her with lingering kisses and caresses that prove her disguise hasn’t fooled him. As their passion ignites, will the secrets of the scroll force a wedding…and lead to a love she’s never known?

REVIEW: I was mightily disappointed with this story. The blurb sounded very good and I’m a fan of the author, but this story lacked in characterization, passion and flow. The plot was way too predictable and boring.

Once I encounter all these problems with the story, I’m in constant struggle to finish it. In the end, I’m hard pressed to recommend it. In fact, I’m giving up on this series and probably won’t read the third installment.

Melanie for b2b

Spotlight on Danelle Harmon and ‘The Wayward One’!

two dhSTORY: Irish Captain Ruaidri O’ Devir has no love for the English. Taken from his family and pressed into the Royal Navy at a young age, he is now a commander for the fledgling American Continental Navy, hand-picked by John Adams himself to steal a potent new explosive from the British. Ruaidri expects to be successful in his mission. What he doesn’t expect is to fall in love with the sister of the man he’s crossed an ocean to abduct…

Beautiful Lady Nerissa de Montforte is the youngest sibling in a powerful and aristocratic English family. Fiercely guarded by her overprotective brothers, she pines for love after a longtime betrothal was cruelly cut short. When she accompanies her brother to a demonstration of his new explosive, she never dreams that her wildest longings to find love and freedom are about to be fulfilled … by a man who is wrong for her in every single way except the one that matters most…

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Kobo / Smashwords /

EXCERPT:

“But ye didn’t count on wantin’ to kiss me, now, did you?”

“I have nothing to lose at this point, do I?”

“No, but ye’ve got everythin’ to gain.”

“How so?”

He laughed, and it wasn’t just humor, but something dark just beneath the surface, something restless and dangerous and riding a narrow edge. Something full of challenge. “What’re ye goin’ to do when ye get back to England, lass?”

“Do?”

“Aye, do.”

“Why, I suppose I will … rest for a few days … perhaps accept the calls of my closest friends … write in my diary of this awful experience—”

“Awful?” He raised a black eyebrow.

“I’ve been abducted, nearly seen a man drown, almost been in a sea fight, and been kissed by a man who is altogether … unsuitable.”

“Ye needed to be kissed, and still do. Ye need to be kissed until yer lips are bruised and yer head is swimmin’ and ye can’t think of anythin’ but the feel of a man’s arms around ye and the anticipation of what comes next. Ye’ve never had a proper kiss in your life, have ye?”

“Of course I have!”

“No, ye haven’t.”

Her chin came up. “I’ll remind you, Captain O’ Devir, that I was affianced once. I can assure you I’ve been kissed.”

“Well now, that both answers and poses a question, it does. Ye’re young, probably heavily dowered, as lovely as Ireland is green and probably have men fallin’ at your feet like flies. Affianced once but no more, and still not spoken for. Why not?”

She felt the inevitable shame. The anger. The freefall of her heart as the events of the last months washed over her. “I would rather not talk about … my affairs.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s none of your business!”

“Aye, ’tis right you are. None of me business.” He smiled that hard, razor’s edge smile, sighed, and appeared to relent.

Nerissa turned her face away to look over the waves.

“Why not?” he persisted, purposely bumping her with his elbow.

Frustrated, she turned to deliver a rebuke but he was grinning, and she realized he was intentionally baiting her and that getting her hot and flustered was, in some way, a victory for him.

“If you really must know, Captain, I … I have been holding out. Hoping that Perry would change his mind. Come to his senses. I loved him, and I don’t want to talk about him or any other potential suitors.”

“Why not?”

“Don’t you have any other words in your vocabulary besides those two?”

“Can’t think of any at the moment.”

He was still looking at her, one brow raised, waiting. “We could talk about you and me, if ye like.”

“There is no ‘you and me.’”

“There could be, if ye wanted it as much as I do….”

============================================

REVIEW: This is book five in the de Montforte series and many fans of this series will be overjoyed to finally read Nerissa’s story. I’ve read all of them and this one is my least favorite.

That said, I must say that the story is well written and with some great prose.

The night wasted no time in swallowing him.

~~~~~ *** ~~~~~

She was, in short, unreachable. Untouchable. Unobtainable.

~~~~~ *** ~~~~~

Velour, Virtue, and Victory was the family motto.

~~~~~ *** ~~~~~

Although it starts off a bit slow, the pace picks up fairly quickly and the action and addition of de Montforde brothers, especially Lucien, had me enjoy it to the max.

The only reason I haven’t fully enjoyed this story as much as I did the previous four, were the principal players.

As much as I liked them separately, together they had absolutely no chemistry. I honestly couldn’t figure it out. The hero was someone who had strength, charm and allure, but when it came to the scenes with them together, he came off boorish, overbearing and callas. By the time they were falling into bed, which was way too soon, I should have felt the connection, and I just didn’t.

In contrast, I liked the heroine much more and thought her characterization well done and much more believable, until she was in a scene with the hero, at which point she becomes naïve and at times, silly. I wish the author had given this relationship more time and space to grow, maybe become friends and allow the passion to develop in a slow burn. I believe that this would have made their first intimacy much more believable.

What I loved the most in this story was the action on the ship. It was written exceptionally well and I felt the tension as I was reading it. Now, I’m not well versed in anything nautical and most of the jargon was over my head, but I L.O.V.E.D. all the running around, dialogue and fighting. That I understood!

Another thing I loved was the appearance of Nerissa’s brothers. It made me realize how much I adored those books and now I’m ready to reread them all. Oh, and how can I forget Brendan and Mira?! Listen, if you’ve not read ‘Captain of My Heart’, then you better get to it. That was a romance for the ages! When I encountered them here, I just let out one of the most loudest sighs …

If you’re a fan of this author and this series, then this is a no-brainer! You have to read this story. It completes the series well. But if you’ve never read this author, then I would urge you to get the first book in this series, ‘The Wild One’, which has been FREE for a long time now. That was the book that had added Ms. Harmon to my ever growing list of favorite authors.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

AUTHOR BIO: Bestselling, multi-award winning and critically acclaimed author Danelle Harmon has written ten books, previously published in print and distributed in many languages throughout the world. Though born and raised in Massachusetts, she and her husband, a native of southwest London, were married and lived in England for several years.

These days, Ms. Harmon and her husband make their home in New England with their daughter Emma and numerous animals including four dogs, an Egyptian Arabian horse, and numerous pet chickens. Danelle welcomes email from her readers and can be reached at her Email or Facebook.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook / Tweeter / Website / Blog

A sneak peek of ‘The Wayward One’ from Danelle Harmon!

Coming on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2016!

two dh

BOOK BLURB: A bold, hot-blooded Irishman on a dangerous mission … a cool and aristocratic Englishwoman who was never meant to be his captive…

Captain Ruaidri O’ Devir is a bold, hot-blooded Irishman on a dangerous mission … Lady Nerissa de Montforte is a cool and aristocratic Englishwoman who was never meant to be his captive.

The sexy, emotional, exciting and heart-stopping conclusion to the bestselling and wildly popular internationally, the de Montforte series by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Danelle Harmon.

PRE-ORDER LINKS: Amazon

SNEAK-PEAK:

She spoke so casually that Ruaidri had trouble believing that her feelings for this man had been as warm as she claimed them to have been. He was used to women who wore their hearts on their sleeves, their emotions, needs and desires on display for all to see. This cool, elegant woman beside him … did she lack that warmth, or had breeding and class choked off any expression of emotion she might otherwise have shown?
“Ye think he broke yer heart, don’t ye, lass?”
“Of course he did.”
“Yer heart isn’t broken, Lady Nerissa.”
She looked up then, frowning. “How dare you presume to know what is in my heart.”
“Yer heart wasn’t broken, because ye never really loved him the way ye thought ye did, did you?”
“What?”
“You stand here beside me and relate this tale of woe t’ me with a dry eye and all the feeling ye might use to describe a bucket of sand. I think there’s more to you than that, and I think that this man, this Perry, would have made ye miserable. He wasn’t good enough for ye.”
“How dare you, Captain O’ Devir!”
“Well, I’m standin’ here, lookin’ at you. Ye’re made pretty enough to make a man weep, you are, and if this piece of shite couldn’t make up his mind and sweep you off to the altar, he sure wouldn’t have made ye a strong husband. Is that what ye would have settled for? A wishy-washy nob who not only couldn’t make up his mind, but was also gullible enough to be taken in by yer brother’s schemin’?”
She just looked at him, mouth agape. To deny his conclusions would have screamed of falseness; to her credit, she did not.
“He was,” she finally admitted, looking back out over the sea, “…indecisive.”
“And you wanted that in a husband?” He snorted. “Doesn’t seem he was worth a broken heart. Don’t tell me ye’re pinin’ for this blatherin’ idiot. Why, did he ever even kiss ye?”
“Captain!” she gasped, outraged.
“Well, did he?”
“Of course.”
“With passion?”
“He was a gentleman. He … he abided by the rules of propriety.”
“Bollocks.”
She gasped, her eyes widening.
“He was an arse. When are ye goin’ to get good and angry about what he did to ye? If he loved you as ye deserve to be loved, he wouldn’t have dragged his feet, he’d have had a ring on yer finger and you in his bed before ye even had time to consider the difference between a kiss of passion and a kiss of ‘propriety.’” He shook his head. “Ye don’t throw gold overboard. Ye don’t hold a diamond up to the light and wonder whether it’s the real thing when it’s blindin’ ye with its brilliance. Indecisive piece of shite.”
“You did not know him!”
“Why are ye defendin’ him? He took, arguably, the best years of yer life with his wafflin’ like a one-footed duck.”
“Lots of people are indecisive … unsure.”
“Not in my line of work, they aren’t. Indecision will make a person dead, very dead. Oh no, I may be many things, Lady Nerissa, but I can assure you I’m not indecisive.”
“And your point?”
“My point is, the good Lord gave ye a face and form to bring a man to his knees. Yer earl was an idiot. I barely know you, but I can tell ye right now that if I were to kiss ye, it would sure as hell not be a kiss of propriety.”
“Of course it wouldn’t. You are anything but a gentleman.”
“Aye, ‘tis true. But I could show you what a kiss ought to feel like. Taste like. Make ye feel like.”
Her head jerked up, her fingers went to her throat, and in the darkness, he could see the twin stains that suddenly bloomed on her cheeks. “Captain, what makes you think I want you to kiss me?”
“Everythin’ about ye.” He unclasped his hands from behind his back and reaching out, finally tucked that errant strand of hair behind her ear, noting that she did not flinch or slap his hand away. “The way yer eyes look suddenly intrigued despite the protests of yer tongue. The fact that ye haven’t slapped me. The fact that when I suggested it, ye swayed toward me just the slightest bit.” He cocked his head, letting a little smile touch the corner of his mouth. “Ye’d enjoy it, you know.”
“You are arrogant and audacious.”
“And I could kiss ye senseless.”
She turned from the rail to face him, her eyes a defiant challenge that intrigued and amused him. She had been jilted by this complete arse of an earl, had been manipulated by the even bigger arse that was her brother but she was no simpering miss, and she was honest enough with herself that the idea of letting him kiss her was one that she viewed as a challenge. Perhaps even compensation for the way both fiancé and brother had made a total muck-up of her life.
“Ye’re not gettin’ any younger,” he prompted.
“And you’re not getting any less arrogant.”
“Aye, don’t hold yer breath on that one.”
She stood there looking at him, her eyes lovely in the darkness, her face so beautiful it took his breath away.
He did not move, allowing her this decision, the respect to have it put in her hands; a respect that others might not have given her.
Her chin came up and her eyes suddenly caught the glint of the rising moon. “Very well, then,” she said. “You think you can make me feel something I doubt I’ll ever feel again? Then kiss me.”
dh party

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AUTHOR BIO: Bestselling, multi-award winning and critically acclaimed author Danelle Harmon has written ten books, previously published in print and distributed in many languages throughout the world. Though born and raised in Massachusetts, she and her husband, a native of southwest London, were married and lived in England for several years.

These days, Ms. Harmon and her husband make their home in New England with their daughter Emma and numerous animals including four dogs, an Egyptian Arabian horse, and numerous pet chickens. Danelle welcomes email from her readers and can be reached at her Email or Facebook.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook / Tweeter / Website / Blog

‘A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong’ by Cecilia Grant

acgpw cgSTORY: It should have been simple…

With one more errand to go—the purchase of a hunting falcon—Andrew Blackshear has Christmas completely under control. As his sister’s impending marriage signals the inevitable drifting-apart of the Blackshear family, it’s his last chance to give his siblings the sort of memorable, well-planned holiday their parents could never seem to provide.

He has no time to dawdle, no time for nonsense, and certainly no time to drive the falconer’s vexing, impulsive, lush-lipped, midnight-haired daughter to a house party before heading home. So why the devil did he agree to do just that?

It couldn’t be more deliciously mixed-up…

Lucy Sharp has been waiting all her too-quiet life for an adventure, and she means to make the most of this one. She’s going to enjoy the house party as no one has ever enjoyed a house party before, and in the meanwhile she’s going to enjoy every minute in the company of amusingly stern, formidably proper, outrageously handsome Mr. Blackshear. Let him disapprove of her all he likes—it’s not as though they’ll see each other again after today.

…or will they? When a carriage mishap and a snowstorm strand the pair miles short of their destination, threatening them with scandal and jeopardizing all their Christmas plans, they’ll have to work together to save the holiday from disaster. And along the way they just might learn that the best adventures are the ones you never would have thought to plan.

REVIEW: This was such a fun little novella and if you haven’t read any of this author’s stories before, I think you should give this prequel to the other books, a chance.

The Blackshear family is interesting, intriguing and vastly amusing.

I liked Andrew, the oldest Blackshear brother so much. Talk about a gentleman! He is one of those hero’s that you can’t help but like. He is so prim and proper, so “starched” that being in his mind I just couldn’t help but chuckle through the whole book.

And then we have Lucy. Lucy, Lucy, Lucy! She was a perfect counterpart to Andrew and no matter what he may have thought of her actions, he just couldn’t help but like her.

Ms. Grant is one of those authors that creates characters that even though they come to us from 200 years ago, you can’t help but identify with them.

I highly recommend it and especially now that you can grab it for FREE!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘A Woman Entangled’ by Cecilia Grant

awe cgSTORY: Kate Westbrook has dreams far bigger than romance. Love won’t get her into London’s most consequential parties, nor prevent her sisters from being snubbed and looked down upon—all because their besotted father unadvisedly married an actress. But a noble husband for Kate would deliver a future most suited to the granddaughter of an earl. Armed with ingenuity, breathtaking beauty, and the help of an idle aunt with connections, Kate is poised to make her dreams come true. Unfortunately, a familiar face—albeit a maddeningly handsome one—appears bent on upsetting her scheme.

Implored by Kate’s worried father to fend off the rogues eager to exploit his daughter’s charms, Nick Blackshear has set aside the torch he’s carried for Kate in order to do right by his friend. Anyway, she made quite clear that his feelings were not returned—though policing her won’t abate Nick’s desire. Reckless passion leads to love’s awakening, but time is running out. Kate must see for herself that the charms of high society are nothing compared to the infinite sweet pleasures demanded by the heart.

REVIEW: Horrors of horrors! No, not the book. I just realized that I’ve read this book way back when it first got out, however I’ve never reviewed it! I honestly thought I did. If you are a reviewer, I know you’ll understand how this can happen. To say I’m embarrassed would be an understatement. I’d like to apologies to the author and to the publishing house, as well as to all of you because this book should have been on your TBR couple of years ago. Well, I guess that the old adage “Better late than ever!” definitely applies here😉

This is yet another well written and plotted story from an author that is very new to me and that I seriously think will be someone who I must read, no matter what.

Her stories are fresh, poignant and extremely real. She thrives on creating characters that are flawed, yet redeemable in the readers’ eyes. I like the fact that Ms. Grant takes chances with creating characters who are unique and who you may not like at first, yet they are interesting and entertaining. They are meant to make me think and mull over the reasons behind the choices they make.

Both Kate and Nick had to work hard for me to like them, and in the end I did. I questioned many decisions these two made and I had a blast finding out what made them tick.

If you’ve never read this author, please try to remedy the situation. She is too good to be missed.

Melanie for b2b

‘A Gentleman Undone’ by Cecilia Grant

agu cgSTORY: Lydia Slaughter understands the games men play—both in and out of the bedroom. Not afraid to bend the rules to suit her needs, she fleeces Will Blackshear outright. The Waterloo hero had his own daring agenda for the gaming tables of London’s gentlemen’s clubs. But now he antes up for a wager of wits and desire with Lydia, the streetwise temptress who keeps him at arm’s length.

A kept woman in desperate straits, Lydia has a sharp mind and a head for numbers. She gambles on the sly, hoping to win enough to claim her independence. An alliance with Will at the tables may be a winning proposition for them both. But the arrangement involves dicey odds with rising stakes, sweetened with unspoken promise of fleshly delights. And any sleight of hand could find their hearts betting on something neither can afford to risk: love.

REVIEW: Cecilia Grant had me at A LADY AWAKENED, and in her second novel she continues to hold my interest with a story that is filled with too much reality, and some may find it hard to accept the romance within it. After all, the heroine was a prostitute turned courtesan, and while our hero knows he should keep away from such a woman, the circumstances are such that neither can avoid the other.

Will Blackshear, is THE beta hero of beta heroes! I adored this man! Here is a man that personifies the words ‘gentleman’ and ‘honor’, yet I sometimes thought even he didn’t think himself worthy of the description of those two words.

Cecilia Grant can write well, plot well, and infuse sensuality so well that she will have you sighing well after you’re done reading her stories.

Ms. Grant penned yet another character-driven, heartwarming and wrenching love story that is NOT to be missed this year!

Melanie for RRAH

‘A Lady Awakened’ by Cecilia Grant

ala cgSTORY: Newly widowed and desperate to protect her estate and beloved servants from her malevolent brother-in-law, Martha Russell conceives a daring plan. Or rather, a daring plan to conceive. After all, if she has an heir on the way, her future will be secured. Forsaking all she knows of propriety, Martha approaches her neighbor, a London exile with a wicked reputation, and offers a strictly business proposition: a month of illicit interludes . . . for a fee.

Theophilus Mirkwood ought to be insulted. Should be appalled. But how can he resist this siren in widow’s weeds, whose offer is simply too outrageously tempting to decline? Determined she’ll get her money’s worth, Theo endeavors to awaken this shamefully neglected beauty to the pleasures of the flesh—only to find her dead set against taking any enjoyment in the scandalous bargain. Surely she can’t resist him forever. But could a lady’s sweet surrender open their hearts to the most unexpected arrival of all . . . love?

REVIEW: The above blurb is adequate in summarizing the story, so I’ll not go into it further. What I would like to tell you is how much I liked this author’s prose, in spite of the plot that I found familiar of late. But above all, I appreciated the pace of the story.

The author took the characterization of both hero and heroine very seriously by making them both flawed; Regency era gave their situation, actions and feelings a believable touch of realty so they weren’t turned into clichés and caricatures of themselves. I liked both characters very much because of who they were, who they wanted to be, and who they became to each other. The reason behind it is, yet again, the pace of the story. It helped me to connect with Martha in my own time and on my terms. She was not an easy heroine to like at first, but the more Theo got to know her, the more I liked her.

To Theo, on the other hand, I warmed up right away. His ‘devil may care’ nature may have not impressed our heroine much, at first, but it appealed to me and made me like him. As the author took us in deeper, we appreciated him more, as the heroine did. It was truly fun watching these two totally opposites come to terms with each other and slowly realizing that LOVE chose them for each other.

This is not your typical cookie cutter romance, despite its trope.  By choosing this plot, the author took a gamble in giving us the slower pace and fully developing her players first, main and secondary, thus making them very real and the plot easy to accept. I’d say the gamble paid off, as I enjoyed this Regency tale very much, and I’m looking forward to Ms. Grant’s future tales. Welcome to my Keeper shelf, Ms. Grant!

Melanie for RRAH